Benefits of Nettle Tea

Most think of the nettle, or stinging nettle, as an irritating weed because brushing against the prickly hairs of the plant will cause stinging and itching. However, it is shown to have value as an herbal tea that can ease discomforts such as allergies and arthritis.

Food Use

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game states that nettles can actually be enjoyed sautéed, steamed or fried. If you harvest your own, be sure to wear gloves. It is easier to purchase nettle as a tea if you are not up to the task of harvesting and cleaning these prickly plants, which grow wild over most of North America.

Author “Wildman” Steve Brill, who wrote the book “Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants,” also enjoys wild-harvested nettle. He prefers it in soups or steamed as well as in a nourishing tea.

Medicinal Use

Native Americans used nettle as a cure for acne, diarrhea and urinary tract infections. Today it is commonly used to treat allergies and hay fever, skin issues, lupus and arthritis. It is also an effective diuretic.

The leaves and stems are most commonly used in teas, though the roots are used sometimes as well.

Nutritional Content

Nettle is a good source of vitamins A, C and E as well as B1, B2, B3 and B5. It is also rich in calcium, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium and zinc.

Nettle Tea Benefits

Research shows evidence that nettle tea is useful in treating cough and cold, intestinal disorders, high blood pressure and joint pain. Nettle acts an an anti-inflammatory for allergic skin reactions.

The University of Maryland recommends drinking 3 to 4 cups of nettle tea each day to treat such conditions as osteoarthritis, hay fever and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Always discuss any herbs you take with your doctor to avoid possible drug interactions.

Making Tea

If you decide to harvest your own nettles or if you have purchased dry leaves or roots, you can make your own nettle tea. Steep 3 to 4 teaspoons of dried nettle in 2/3 of a cup of boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes.

Because it is a strong diuretic, be sure to drink additional water if you drink nettle tea. Do not drink nettle tea if you are pregnant because it can contribute to miscarriage. An allergic reaction is possible but rare. Caution should also be used with children because a safe dose has not been determined for them.

About this Author

Kathleen Roberts is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and nutrition, gardening, pets and parenting. She has been writing professionally for more than 13 years. Her work has been published on numerous websites including LoveToKnow, BabyCorner, ChoosyHomeschooler and PetStyle. She loves to share her training and experience with others.